My quirky vices aside, reading is very powerful to me. I love to finish a book and feel as if I have said goodbye to dear friends. I love that urge I feel to tell my husband about the exciting twist I just read when he asks if anything interesting happened that day. I love the combination of words to form patterns and rhythms that can lull me to sleep at night or create a kind of literary symphony.
Since early childhood I have also loved writing. It is like a fantastic word puzzle that only a select few can solve!
Every author who is asked about the craft gives the same advice to potential writers: READ!
So that is what I started doing.
Not just reading for fun (although I do enjoy it!) but reading to educate myself. For example, if I was reading Harry Potter I might look at the way J.K. Rowling uses point of view to keep the reader in the dark about certain mysteries. If I am reading a book that I don't like, I ask why. Is it the wording? The Characters? The story itself? All this helps me learn the good and bad of writing.
Between simple pleasure and learning a useful skill, I feel compelled to read. Well, now I do. For many years I barely read anything. For one thing, I didn't know what to read. I needed to find a genre that appealed to me. Once I did, I had to make reading a priority.
The first step was reading to my children. I started reading to them at nap time until they fell asleep. I sometimes read kids books but I usually read whatever I wanted to read. The kids would be asleep in a matter of minutes. Sometimes I would keep reading to myself for a little while. Reading aloud had many unexpected benefits for me.
As I began to read more, I started finding other ways to steal a few minutes of reading.
- I read while I waited for the water to boil or the brownies to bake at dinner time.
- I take the book to the bathroom (honestly the only moments of semi-privacy I get some days!).
- I read for a few minutes at night before going to sleep.
- I wake the kids in the mornings then read while they eat and get dressed for the day.
- I used to read while I waited for the bus in the afternoons (when I had to drive to the bus stop).
- I take a book with me to all appointments.
- I bring a book with me to youth activities at church. (I wait while the kids participate)
- I like listening to Audio books while I clean, especially a really indepth job. It helps the work go faster!
There are unused minutes in every day. Once you get into a book, one that is hard to put down, you will discover time you never knew you had!